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Me and my health: Paula McFetridge on her lifestyle


Outdoors: Paula McFetridge enjoys a walk around Ormeau Park

Outdoors: Paula McFetridge enjoys a walk around Ormeau Park

Outdoors: Paula McFetridge enjoys a walk around Ormeau Park

Paula McFetridge (54), from Belfast, is Artistic Director of Kabosh Theatre Company and has just directed Laurence McKeown's powerful new play Before You Go. She is married to playwright and actor Vincent Higgins

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: Pre-lockdown I had got into aqua aerobics at Avoniel and then Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre; I was doing it twice a week and loved the madness of it. I took swimming lessons about 10 years ago as I wasn't the best, was great underwater but sunk after a couple of strokes. When I learnt I then got why people love zoning out over multiple lengths of a pool. I am looking forward to getting back to it.

I have been known to don a wetsuit and wrestle with my boogie board in Donegal and attempted surf lessons last year.

Most mornings I do a bit of free yoga on YouTube with Adriene Mishler in the privacy of my humble abode - a real find! There are monthly calendars with a daily session ranging from 10-35 minutes. You choose what you fancy so you get a taste of everything.

Most weekends we enjoy a walk round Ormeau Park - what an asset for the community. When I was working in the Kabosh office (in different times), I was lucky that I could stroll along the Lagan door to door in 30 minutes: it sets me up for the day and helps me process what has occurred before I open our front door.

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: Due to a long-term problem with fibroids leading to several blood transfusions, I had a full hysterectomy in March 2018. With incredible support from my family and friends I recovered well and have never looked back. It is amazing how many women suffer from similar issues.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I am not the worst - my dad worked in the fruit business most of his life so he trained us well and breakfast is my most important meal of the day, I have a mug of hot water with lemon juice, a mandarin orange, a bowl of blueberries/kiwi and pineapple with kefir and seeds, a round of toast, maybe an egg. Lunch is soup or crackers and cheese or avocado. Dinner is ever-changing - steak, fish, pasta.

I am pretty good at drinking pints of diluted juice, I force myself to have the occasional green or peppermint tea (very odd) and I live on coffee when I am in rehearsals. It is a bit odd but I do get withdrawal if I don't get fruit and veg on a regular basis!

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I am a nail-biter… disgusting, I know, and you would think I'd have grown out of it by now.

Q: Do you drink and smoke/ if so how much?

A: I love a cheeky bottle of Rioja, occasionally preceded by a Jawbox gin with Russchian. When the pubs reopen I will hug a cool pint of lager.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Hang out with my nieces and nephews, watch disaster movies with Vincent and a bottle of Rioja, catch up on a series.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Thankfully very well. I can sleep on a clothes line from my years of touring and I tend to go out like a light. I function fairly well if I can get six or more hours.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Only in that I don't fancy slowing down or watching those I love slowing down. Age can be a cruel beast. We're not great at caring for our aging population and, like many, I hate seeing family members being slowly rubbed out through illness.

Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Small oranges and avocados.

Paula recently directed Laurence McKeown's powerful new play Before You Go, looking at the fragility of love. It will be streamed live on March 2 at 7.30pm, March 3 at 1pm and March 4 at 7.30pm. Tickets are free due to the generosity of SEUPB Peace 1V funding, but you need to register on kabosh.net to be sent the link. @kaboshtheatre/www.kabosh.net/Kabosh Theatre

Belfast Telegraph